Boat-Tailed Garage Find! 1972 Buick Riviera

When Buick introduced this “Boat Tail” Riviera in 1971, Bill Mitchell wanted “a classic,” and the polarizing design guaranteed a unique style that some people love and some hate. One thing’s for certain; these cars are never mistaken for another vehicle from nearer than a country mile. Thanks to “AMXBrian” for spotting this particular 1972 Buick Riviera here on craigslist in Maine, and thanks to for some details on these interesting coupes.

In addition to the boat tail, these cars feature an unusual backwards rake on the front end. The asking price is set at $2000, though the “missing” title, Maine location, and the lack of effort in preparing the car for sale imply a suffix of “or best offer.”

Buick dispensed with the earlier generation Riviera’s rear skirts and enlarged the wheel openings on the ’71-’73 Riviera. This one appears to have had its wheel openings further enlarged by tin worms. The lack of interior or engine compartment pictures leaves additional question marks. Clearly some rust repair awaits the new owner. The seller says he or she “was told the 455 was rebuilt,” a statement that –generally speaking– would be best ignored by a savvy buyer without further evidence or documentation. Still the $2000 asking price leaves options in your budget. What future do you see for this boat-tailed beauty?


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  1. Had Two

    These were very nice road cars, however, this one……
    really rough, and a missing title. Good luck with that!

  2. boxdin

    Go to the southwest or west and get one w no rust.

  3. Mr. TKD

    I have always wanted one of these, but I’ll pass on this one.


    I’ve lusted after one of these from the day the’71 was introduced. But $50,000 restoration dollars later on this particular one and you have a real nice $15,000 car.

  5. Dickies Hot Rods

    Every Riviera must be saved….

    Like 1
  6. Steve pags

    The costs to restore will easily exceed the value of the car. Buy one done.

  7. Eathon

    My dream car. 71-73 Riviera. Not that one but one day. I’m just one winning lottery ticket away.

  8. Righteous Bob

    One of the best cars I ever owned,, Not Fast but she would get and go for a big boat. Sold it to my Grand daughter’s boy friend, so its still in the family..

  9. TVC15

    I had one as a company car back in the 80s in New York , Same colour and a blue vinyl roof you could put a Family size pizza on top of the dash ! great car . Was parking it in Midtown one night when someone said ” wow Nice What year ” I said to my date when where you born Hun ?


      You must have worked for a great company.

  10. MFerrell

    I find the face of these a little dull compared to the very attractive boat tail. I always thought marrying the tail end of one of these to the front end of a ’65 or ’69 would be interesting.

  11. Joe h

    I like the car but, no title, rust issues, limited parts availability and not a high dollar car. Unfortunately a parts car only.

  12. mike D

    he states he has all maintenance records since new… including engine rebuild? I would give it a thorough look anyways (W/O the ” advice” thanks anyways ) it could be made nice enough but I am not young enough to take this on … also reminds me of Bruce Willis driving one in ” the last Boy Scout” ” the tape player eats the tape” lol

  13. Joey carter

    1973 buick riveria 455 boat tail all original 67,000 miles Lubbock texas

  14. Pat

    It’s amazing how little back seat leg room these have for such a big car.

  15. Jim Benjaminson

    Had a ’71. It appeared here on Barn Finds about two years ago – still around after all these years. One of the quietest, most comfortable cars I ever owned but handling sucked big time (after coming out of a ’70 Grand Prix). Michelin radial tires really helped but it wasn’t as “road sure” as the GP.


      You’re right about the radial tires. Back in 2001, I bought a 72 Riv with 9600 miles and the original bias ply tires. One of the first things I did was get Goodyear Reatta radials. I couldn’t believe the difference in handling.

  16. Clinton

    There is a green one like this down the street from me (where I’m working in California) no rust pretty mint looking for 13k

  17. Had Two

    The Riviera GS version (Gran Sport) handled much better, plus more horsepower, quicker ratio steering, better rear end gears, posi-trac.

  18. ACZ

    Beautiful design, even on the 73 with the big bumpers. Unfortunately, this is a parts car. Combine it with a Southern body and have a nice ride. It’s not meant to be a sports car, it’s a road car.

  19. Brian

    Unless it’s your dream to restore one of these you can save a fortune buying a nice original or a already restored car. My old boss restored a 67 and when it was done I’m sure he had invested triple what it was worth

  20. Wayne

    My Dad flipped cars once in a while. (bought Nevada cars and sold them in Illinois and bought 4X4s in Illinois and sold them in Nevada) He ended up with a 455 Gran Sport Riv. And loved it so much on the Interstate that he almost kept it. It was in very nice condition.

  21. John b

    In ‘76 they had a red white and blue edt. I knew a guys uncle that had one. I wish i could remember how the colors were placed where

  22. Leon Wiesner

    I had heard the Government mandated the license plate in the center of the bumper for 73, I liked the off-centered placement on the 71’s and 72’s with the more accentuated rear bumper.

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